Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Unified Sports® joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.
It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.
Over 440 athletes with and without intellectual disabilities participate in Unified Sports in Hawaii.
Special Olympics Hawaii currently offers unified opportunities in the following sports:
- Bocce - One athlete and one unified partner on a doubles team.
- Bowling - Two athletes and two unified partners on a team.
- 5-a-side Soccer - Three athletes and two unified partners on the field.
- Softball - Five athletes and five unified partners on the field.
- Track and Field – 2 athletes and 2 unified partners on a relay team.
Sports such as Softball and Soccer should also include an equally proportionate number of athletes and unified partners as substitutes.
The Unified Coach
The most important person to the success of a Unified Sports® team is the COACH.
An effective and successful coach is not simply one who helps a team win. Equally important is his or her contribution to teaching, improving and applying sports skills, building team spirit, exhibiting sportsmanship on and off the field, and helping to instill positive values in all members of the team. The coach also plays the critical role of carefully selecting athletes who are similar in age and ability. The coach must ensure that Special Partners are not of the caliber where they will dominate play. The coach also must ensure that team rules, including attendance at practice, apply to all players.
Download a copy of the Unified Sports Handbook.